Finally, a Politician that understands Internet Privacy, Rep. Carl Zimmerman, D-Palm Harbor has introduced Florida HB 677, a Mugshot Removal Bill. With an Effective Date of October 1, 2013, the bill requires that operators of Mugshot Websites remove a person’s name & information within a specified period after notice that person is acquitted or charges are dropped or otherwise resolved without conviction. It provides for a civil penalty against Mugshot Websites in Florida and provides for presumption of defamation against Mugshot Website Owners.
Here is a list of some of the Mugshot Websites in Florida and their current removal policies.
- Mugshots.com – This Mugshot website has been collecting and cultivating mugshot photos and arrest records for websites for many years. The owner of this website is rumored to be in Florida but their true identity is unknown to the Internet Privacy Community. They charge $399 for one mugshot, $798 for 2, $1,197 for 3 and $1,479 for 4. Even if the charges were dropped or not adjudicated, they charge these fees. They use to provide Removal Services, but in 2012, a new site www.unpublisharrest.com was launched. In some cases, the removal service company (a reseller of mugshots.com) asks for you to email or fax them the court records. After reviewing the court records emailed, they may elect not to remove the mugshot. This company use to provide a free service for lawyers for removal of cases that were expunged or dropped, but that service was terminated in 2012. Mugshots.com provides a link to Facebook.com for facebook users to comment on any mugshot photo/arrest record. The company’s domain is registered in Belize City, Belize. Mugshots.com’s IP Address 220.127.116.11 appears to be hosted by Amazon.com (18.104.22.168).
- Florida.Arrests.org or Arrests.org – This company is owned by ex-con and entrepreneur Robert Wiggin of New Orleans, LA / Winter Park, Florida. There is no removal information on the website. The only contact information is the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. There are removal websites that allegedly remove the mugshots for $399. There is section for comments under each mugshot. The Domain is registered to a Carlos Diaz in the city of Panama, Panama. Their website appears to be hosted in Sweden (IP 22.214.171.124). Their email address is email@example.com.
- Jailbase.com – This company publishes Florida Mugshots on its website. There is a subscription service for users for $29.95 per month with detailed arrest information. They appear to resell mugshot data. They remove the information after 90 days. They have a contact form to remove inaccurate information only, not arrest information that was expunged, or the charges dropped. The company is located at 303 E. Gurley Street, #478 in in Prescott, Arizona. Their Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve seen some of the cries on the Internet by the Mugshot Removal Company owners from their probable Multi-Million Dollar Homes with multiple sports cars in driveway. We’ve hard about their claim about their First Amendment Rights and their excessive costs to unpublish records from their database. The fact of the matter is that to remove a record from a database is simply minutes, deleting a database entry and a photo. The more costly expense is scanning the photos and photo copying the arrest records from the thousands of county courts offices throughout the United States. Since many of these companies are going back 10 or more years to put this information on the Internet, that’s where the money is being spent.
The real problem we’ve seen is that these mugshot websites are engaging in “reputation blackmail” and “extortion”. They are hiding behind the lack of Internet Privacy Laws. These sites don’t have to publish their Company Address and Location so if you are going to litigate against them, you’ll have to find them. In addition, the Search Engines like Google, Microsoft Bing and Microsoft Yahoo index their content. Facebook allows them to link their content. Hosting Services like Amazon host their services. Some of these companies even have their servers located in other countries to shield themselves from litigation.
Editors Note: At InternetRemoval.com, we commend Florida Representative Carl Zimmerman, (D-Palm Harbor) on his support of this very important Mugshot or Internet Privacy Bill. We believe this bill is very important to protect the privacy of the Internet.